“And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold. And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
We started off our morning with a wonderful pancake breakfast in Sioux Falls. Afterwards, we traveled to a church in the area to have a “round table discussion” where we continued to chat about the possibilities of FBC’s partnership among Native American peoples. Let me just start by saying that the Lord is all over this and His sovereignty has already been so powerfully displayed.
As we talked this morning with Buck Hill, who works with the North American Mission Board and Jon and Cindy Merchant, who work alongside Buck, I think all of us grew more and more encouraged. I’m only spelling these things out so that you guys can continue to pray for the Lord’s guidance in this–so, be warned that if you continue reading, we expect you to pray!!
Here’s the (summarized) scoop on things that we’ve talked about.
Our shared desire is that the Lord would use the North American Mission Board, FBC and other interested churches to work together to train Natives and indigenous workers to go and disciple their own people in their own locations. We know that this strategy is best because a cultural gap creates barriers to the spread of the gospel and the discipleship of believers. The way to overcome the gap is to go straight to those already immersed in the culture! Though the Sioux live in the US, their culture is radically different from ours in Mt. Pleasant.
In addition, you guys know that FBC partners with Hope Next Door–a non-profit organization in South Dakota which Ron Stroh and Dave Matthews have been instrumental in developing. We actually got to meet the workers and see their work today–it was awesome! In addition to making a little money to provide for their families, they are visited weekly by a Christian brother who holds devotionals with them. The manager of the work, Cheryl, is a believer who desires to run the business in a godly way. She and her family have incredible servant hearts.
The idea is that the business model that was used to create Hope Next Door would be a reproducible model that could be used in other areas as well. This model was created to support a bi-vocational pastor, which if you connect the dots, fits perfectly with the idea of training Native Americans to reach their own people. Obviously, they’ve got to support their families, and this business model could provide for that. Hope Next Door could potentially serve as a guinea pig for this model to be produced in other areas where the gospel isn’t being proclaimed!
Though the logistics are yet to be determined, and we’ve not committed ourselves to anything, we are so excited, encouraged and humbled that we’ve gotten to see God at work already. Even if there isn’t a role for FBC to play, I’m certain that the hearts of 5 crazy South Carolinians will be changed when we come home.
Ultimately, it’s the people that we care about, so here are some facts that we learned today about the Lakota Sioux Peoples:
They make up 1/7 of the entire population of South Dakota (there are only 750,000 people in the whole state!).
Eye contact isn’t to be expected. If you receive it, you might be in trouble.
They have one of the highest suicide rates among teenagers in the country.
Letting your “yes” be “yes” is of incredibly high value to them.
Respect for elders is one of their greatest values.
Roughly 25% of those living on the reservations are employed.
Our Round Table Discussion Team
We saw hundreds of miles of “nothing” today–but it was beautiful!
A beautiful quilt was being sewn at Hope Next Door.
Just a fun selfie in Parmelee with some of the team.